'Noraholics' flock to local book signing

July 14, 2002|by KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

Hundreds of "Noraholics" arrived in Boonsboro Saturday to meet the woman they call "the Queen."

Dressed in yellow T-shirts emblazened with the Web address and "NoraWorld," the group stood outside the Turn the Page Bookstore on Main Street and discussed their favorite romance writer, Nora Roberts.

"She's so friendly and kind," said Katie Dunneback who flew from Chicago, Ill., to Boonsboro to visit with Roberts and get a copy of her latest book, "Face the Fire."

Over the years, Dunneback has attended several of Roberts' book signings and communicated with her on the Web site devoted to the prolific romance writer.


Roberts said she visits the Web site each day to "chatter." She's made friends from the site and finds it entertaining, she said.

Noraholics are those "committed to faithfully ignoring the realities of life (i.e. work, marriage, family, etc.) in order to read, re-read and sometimes memorize every book written by the author who personifies and transcends the very best the romance genre has to offer: Nora Roberts," according to the Roberts' Web site.

That description fits her perfectly, said Dunneback, 25.

She likes Roberts' books because her characters are well-developed. Roberts has gotten her hooked on other romance writers and even suggested she try writing a book, Dunneback said.

In the early days of their writing career, husband-and-wife writing team Jim and Nikoo McGoldrick said Roberts gave them encouragement and wrote a promotional blurb that ran on the cover of one of their books.

The couple met Roberts at a writing conference years ago and have toured with her a few times, he said.

"She's always been supportive," Jim McGoldrick said.

The McGoldricks' were promoting their books "The Rebel," written under the pseudonym May McGoldrick, and "Twice Burned," written under the pseudonym Jan Coffey, at Saturday's book signing.

Authors Patricia Gaffney and Aileen Campbell also promoted their latest releases at the book signing.

"It's important to bookstores to support new writers to develop readership," Roberts said.

Turn the Page is owned by Roberts' husband, photographer Bruce Wilder.

Avid reader Jeannie King of Boonsboro said her favorite Roberts book is usually the "the last one I've read."

Roberts' use of detail "brings the characters to life," she said. She has read all of Roberts' books except the hard-to-find "Promise Me Tomorrow," King, 34, said. She visits Robert's Web site frequently and joined the NoraWorld fan club to meet new people and talk with insiders about Roberts' books.

"Her books are well researched, especially the Ireland books. They make you see it when you are reading," she said.

The fact that an author of Roberts' stature lives in a small town in Washington County and hasn't embraced a "Hollywood" lifestyle just adds to her appeal, said Dunneback.

"She doesn't forget where she came from. She's very rooted," she said.

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